Home » How Volunteer Programs Can Stay Resilient During Uncertain Times
As the past two years have shown, we may not always know what volunteerism will look like in the future, but our communities continue to rely on the services of nonprofits and the volunteers who serve them.
In uncertain times, it’s important that volunteer programs strive for resilience while maintaining focus on their core missions and the impact they can have on their local community.
Here are five steps you can take to remain resilient during the challenges of COVID-19:
Regular check-ins with employees and volunteers are always a great idea. You can collect anecdotal information, or create a survey to evaluate your tools and processes. Formally evaluating your current processes and tools can help reduce your program’s vulnerability now and in the future.
We’ve compiled some questions below to help you evaluate the current state of your volunteer management tools and processes.
The pandemic has caused major concerns about the economic impact on nonprofits and volunteer programs across the country. Your core mission and services are still as critical as ever, so it’s important to stay on top of your program’s budget.
Here are a few ways you can plan ahead to better advocate for your volunteer program and its funding:
Gather and review volunteer program expense reports.
Track volunteer hours and impact.
Continue to log all incoming funds from fundraisers, donors and grants.
An awareness of your expenditures and budget requirements can prepare you if you need to make the case for your volunteer program’s funding. Your attention to the budget may also encourage your organization as a whole to devote deserved attention to the success of your volunteer program. If your organization has had to temporarily pause volunteerism, you can still stay ahead of the game by planning your budget and other resources you’ll need upon reopening.
Even if your volunteer program has had to pause intermittently throughout the pandemic you can still keep your volunteers engaged with your organization. Alternatively, if your volunteer program has remained open, volunteer engagement is key to maintaining momentum.
Continue Your Volunteer Newsletter
Volunteers feel especially connected with your organization when they are given the additional opportunity to develop interpersonal connections.
To maintain these connections:
A little human connection goes a long way. Take your virtual volunteer management a step further by offering virtual volunteer opportunities.
Learn more about recruiting virtual volunteers >>
Update Your Website
Keep your website fresh and updated. Your supporters will head to your website for program updates and COVID-19-related information. Highlight your virtual volunteer opportunities on your website, and let your volunteers and community know that you’re eager to move forward. Make certain to create a user-friendly experience on your volunteer site.
Capture Future Interest
Regardless of whether your programs are running at full capacity or not, you’ll still want to focus on capturing your volunteers’ interest.
Your volunteers will feel eager and prepared upon reopening. Learn more about how one organization is keeping its volunteers engaged and active during the pandemic.
The past two years have proven just how vital nonprofits are to the wellbeing of our communities. But with so much pressure on nonprofits to respond, competition for funding is higher than ever. To make matters more challenging, many organizations have had to cancel their most profitable in-person galas and fundraisers. Without this much-needed revenue, it can seem nearly impossible for volunteer programs to stay afloat.
It’s time to get creative and well-organized. Here are some ways you and your team can inspire donations and win grants (with further resources for more insight):
You may have been tasked with making temporary changes to your programming to address the immediate needs of your community during the pandemic. This can mean redirecting resources and shifting your program’s mission. It’s important to review your program’s purpose regularly and recenter your program when appropriate to avoid long term mission creep.
Assess and Anticipate Community Needs
Assess the current needs of your organization and anticipate the needs of your community during recovery. Consider those your organization serves and how their needs may have changed.
Evaluate Your Program’s Purpose
If your program was forced to shift during COVID-19 response, you will need to consider how and when you will return to your original purpose and mission. Gather your team and revisit your mission together.
By employing these five steps, your volunteer program can stay resilient, even in the face of uncertainty. Be sure to visit the resources on managing your volunteer program during the COVID-19 pandemic.
More Resources for Volunteer Managers:
Author: Addison Waters
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